DHEA or Diosgenin Prevents Bone Loss in Ovariectomized Rats


The use of estrogen, DHEA, and diosgenin in a sustained delivery setting as a novel treatment approach for osteoporosis in the ovariectomized adult rat model.

It is well established that the pattern of bone loss from the cortex in osteoporotic bone begins from the endosteal surface of the cortex, where there is enlargement of the medullary canal at the expense of the inner cortex. Bone loss does not occur at the periosteal surface. The objective of the following study was to induce osteoporosis in female rats by ovariectomy, followed by treatment with sustained delivery of Diosgenin (DG), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), or estrogen (E) after clinical signs of osteoporosis. Female Sprague Dawley rats were divided randomly into five groups containing four rats/group. Rats comprising group 1 were left intact and served as a control group. Animals in groups 2-5 were ovariectomized (OVX) and, after a 14 day delay to allow for induction of osteoporosis, were implanted with TCPL capsules containing DG, DHEA, and E, respectively. The experiment was ceased after 33 days of treatment, at which time the vital and reproductive organs for each group were collected, weighed, and analyzed histomorphometrically for differences. Further analysis of the progression of osteoporosis in the experimental animals was obtained by performing x-ray analysis of each group on a semi-weekly basis. By collecting and analyzing the femurs from each animal, we were also able to obtain important information about the histologic changes associated with osteoporosis (left femur), as well as data regarding the effects of osteoporosis on the mechanical strength of bone via three point bending analysis (right femur). The data generated by this study revealed important information as to the efficacy and safety of the alternative treatments DHEA, E, and DG for osteoporosis. First, histomorphometric analysis revealed that treatment with DHEA, E, and DG reduced the endosteal perimeter and cortical area to values very similar to controls (intact). Second, results of the bending stress and modulus in OVX and treated animals were not statistically different from the intact control animals, which suggests that the material properties of the bone were unaltered. Third, there is an increase in total body weight associated with OVX that is reduced to control levels after replacement therapy. Finally, OVX also resulted in reproductive tissue atrophy, which was reversed by all three of the treatment regimens in this study. These data suggest that bone loss after OVX can be significantly reduced by supplementation with sustained levels of DHEA, E, and DG without jeopardizing other body organs.

Higdon K, Scott A, Tucci M, Benghuzzi H…
Biomed Sci Instrum 2001
PMID: 11347403